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Messages - staehpj1

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Routes / Re: Pacific Coast Route North to South
« on: June 06, 2016, 07:01:00 am »
When I did it in September the weather was wonderful and the traffic light.  I'd bet on October being nice as well.  Summer is probably fine if you don't mind a bit heavier tourist traffic, but Fall is probably nicer.

I'd think spring would be likely to be wetter, but if you are considering going then check historic averages on or weatherunderground to be sure.

If the Spot device sets her mind at ease it is probably money well spent, but in my opinion touring is not especially more dangerous than "normal life".

One thing I will suggest, and I think this is very important.  Don't over promise how much you will stay in contact.  On my first long tour (TA) I made the mistake of promising to be in touch more than I actually wound up doing once on the road and it definitely strains a relationship.

On the TA I gave the impression I would be calling daily and then there were times when I didn't call for multiple days in a row.  Don't do that.

I have since found it way better to set expectations low for how often you will call, text, or email home and then meet or exceed those expectations.  For me it works best if I say up front that there may be times when I won't think about calling during the daytime and then won't have a signal in the evening and that it could be multiple days of that at times.  Then she is happy when I manage to call fairly frequently and at least text most days.  I do find that it is often easier to stay in contact by text messages and emails where cell signals are spotty since they go through better on a poor signal and will drain batteries less.  I definitely don't promise to be available to take calls and leave the phone off when not actually using it.  I also set expectations for any calls to be brief.

To sum up...  When expectations are set low and exceeded it is WAY better than setting high expectations and not meeting them.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades road surfaces?
« on: May 27, 2016, 03:40:28 pm »
The handling of the Bromoton is a little nervous compared to my LHT but I'm confident that it is up to the task.

You say that the climbs are steep but according to the gpx they rarely reach 6%. Do you think that is innacurate?

I would have guessed that quite a few places the grades hit the double digits for at least some portion of the way.   For sure there will be a number of days where the elevation gain will be over a mile, sometimes all in one go.

Routes / Re: Sierra Cascades road surfaces?
« on: May 27, 2016, 06:59:58 am »
I guess it depends on your particular bike, but I wouldn't choose a folder for that ride.  If your folder handles and climbs very well with whatever you will be carrying it may work for you, but in my experience most folders are unsuitable for a ride like that even if you weren't carrying any gear.

There is an extreme amount of steep climbing on the SC.  There are also crazy long and steep descents on roads that have potholes and falling rock to dodge.  I never found any of the small wheeled folders I have ridden to be suitable for those kind of conditions.

Perhaps your folder doesn't suffer from the tall whippy masts and cramped geometry that I find unsuitable.  If it doesn't the small wheels while less than ideal might not be a problem.

General Discussion / Re: Biking across America
« on: May 20, 2016, 12:07:31 pm »
If you are planning for this summer (2016) you are really pushing it and I wouldn't advise it at all.  If you plan for next summer, (2017), yes it's quite doable.
I somewhat disagree.  The biggest hurdle will be your lack of camping experience and gear.  Three of us did the Trans America on a whim and on pretty short notice.  The only real difference is that we were all experienced at camping and outdoor activities.  By the time you could get up to speed and have all your gear sorted you would want to start in the West (the later in the season you go the more the preference shifts to a W-E trip).

General Discussion / Re: If you only had a couple of weeks?
« on: May 04, 2016, 08:10:57 am »
For the amount of time you have, I'd consider the Oregon Coast N-S.  It is great riding, pleasant weather, beautiful scenery, and far and away the most suited place for meeting other cyclists that I have found.  I fell in with an impromptu group that camped together every night much of the way.  I typically don't ride with others, but you probably could on that route.

On other routes I met and made friends with others, but not to the same extent.  I did make a few longer lasting after the tour acquaintances on the Trans America, but on the PC hung out with others most days.

Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: May 01, 2016, 03:10:55 pm »
Personally, I thought the mountains in western Virginia, eastern Kentucky, and central Missouri (Ozarks) were the toughest on the TransAm.  By comparison, the passes in Colorado, Wyoming, and Montana were easy grades.  Yes, they were long, but the grades were much easier. 
That was my observation as well.

Routes / Re: TransAm trail - how fit
« on: May 01, 2016, 07:25:22 am »
If you are in good general health, 10 days to 2 weeks in you will be doing fine and will have begun to hit yours stride.  Just take it a little easy in the beginning.  My approach is to never ride enough so you need rest days.

General Discussion / Re: Down Tube Shifters
« on: April 18, 2016, 10:38:14 am »
Down tube shifters are simple and weigh less than any other kind of shifter.
Not to get too far into "weight weeneism" here but, while the downtube lever themselves weigh less than other shifter types, you have to add the weight of the brake levers to get a fair comparison.  STI's, Ergo's and the Gevenalle shifters include the brake levers in their weight claims.
I am a pretty obsessive weight weenie when it comes to packing gear, but a bit less so on the bike.  That said brifters are typically heavier than the combined weight of brake levers and down tube shifters.  Additionally there is less cable and cable housing.  Those differences are kind of moot to me though since my preference on how they work is a bigger deal.

Gear Talk / Re: Un-Chain my bike!
« on: April 13, 2016, 08:13:13 am »
If I am picturing what happened correctly, your chain doubled over itself, creating a loop. My GF did that a few weeks ago, and it's happened to me before.. If that's what happened, next time take a deep breath and work through the problem visually. With the chain on one of the chainrings, you know which is the side is the "underside" (the side that comes in contact with the sprockets of the chainrings and cogs, and which side is the "outerside" (the side that does not come into contact with the sprockets). Use that orientation to address the tangle.
I agree.  The language here seems a little confusing, but it sounds correct and I can't improve upon it.  I think that the key point is to think through where the chain is, where it is supposed to be, and in what orientation and you can always get it back into place,  Since it might require some force understanding where it is and where it wants to be is key.  You don't want to force it is a direction that it doesn't want to go.

The snag is usually where the chain crosses itself to make the loop that hangs it up.

In some cases it may help to unbolt the FD from the frame if the chain is binding in the cage, but I don't actually recall ever having to do that.

Bottom line...  Think it through first and then work it out.

Gear Talk / Re: Anyone here use Rok Straps?
« on: April 05, 2016, 08:10:37 am »
I use and prefer inexpensive straps that don't stretch.  Typically anything I strap on the rack has enough give that I don't want or need stretch in the straps.  It is also light enough that a pretty light duty strap suffices.  I think the ones I use are poly (nylon gets loose when wet).

The cheap straps from Coghlan's work fine.  They don't last forever, but are cheap enough (about $3 for two) that it doesn't matter too much.  They are also much lighter than Rok straps.

Yeah, just a smartphone for me.  I leave it turned off most of the time and carry either a spare battery or a power wallet, so I can go a long way between charges.  I don't find that I read as much when on tour, but when I do it is usually audio books.  That way I don't need light to read, can read while riding if i want, and don't need to carry a separate device or paper books for reading.  I read on a Kindle at home, but it typically stays home when I tour.

It will vary pretty widely with jurisdictions.  I don't know if there is a site that aggregates the listings of bans in various jurisdictions.

Routes / Re: Century day along the TransAm route
« on: March 24, 2016, 09:39:51 am »
Another run would be the stretch between Lander and Rawlins, WY.  Nothing to stop for, although if the wind turns against you it'll make stopping at Jeffrey City a really good idea.
If I remember correctly we had a headwind going the other way in June of 2007 and typical weather patterns make a tail wind likely for you there.  So if you have not gotten your century in by then it may be a good time to do it.  You just never know about the winds though.


We did have trouble finding canisters from Pueblo to Virginia.  I know others claim Walmart has them everywhere but we did not find that to be the case. 

Yes, I posted this info a few years ago. Walmart did stock Coleman branded "MSR" style isobutane cartridges on the shelves for a few years but apparently no longer. Now they only sell Primus/Optimus cannisters through Walmart dotcom. That means you'd have to order in advance to have one waiting for you. Alternatively, find one at an outdoors store which may be scarce on some sections of the route.
Also beware that stores do not stock the same merchandise in all locations.  So if xyz mart has item x up and down the west coast it doesn't necessarily mean they will have it in Kansas.  I know that we found the canisters at various chain stores in some parts of the country and not others.

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